For a long time, white filmmakers and their stories dominated the Canadian film scene. However, as the industry evolves, a change in storytellers continuously shows why diversity is essential. Within the Canadian film scene, Indigenous contributions are especially important and add to the diversity of filmmakers, allowing them to share their own experiences.
One Indigenous director and producer, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, creates films about Inuit life and culture. Her documentary, Angry Inuk, reveals how seal-hunting protesters have impacted Inuit communities. Arnaquq-Baril takes an empathetic stance on exploring Inuit culture, leading a positive change in how others view and understand Inuit traditions.
Kawennahere Devery Jacobs is another Indigenous filmmaker who uses her role as a distinguished Mohawk actress and model to create films like Stolen. Stolen brings light to the thousands of Indigenous women and girls who go missing. Like Arnaquq-Baril, Jacobs’ films are moving pieces of art that bring awareness to the unique challenges that the Indigenous community faces, specifically Indigenous women.
Events like the Sundance Film Festival allow Indigenous creators to highlight how the effects of colonization have rippled throughout Indigenous communities, as well as how colonization impacts other communities.
In addition to Arnaquq-Baril and Jacobs, many other Indigenous filmmakers focus their efforts on the power of self-representation and on-screen representation in film—including choosing the right cast to represent their stories.
Authentic casting and storytelling allow Indigenous communities to be heard and tell the stories of those who struggle the most. For many Indigenous filmmakers, storytelling is an integral part of their childhoods, and this aspect of their lives can translate beautifully into a filmmaking career. They merge their talents for storytelling with their various experiences to create art.